Boulder County issues indoor mask mandate, the first since statewide order was lifted

By: - September 7, 2021 10:36 am

A surgical mask and an N95 mask hang on display for sale at a pharmacy. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Boulder County has reinstated a mask mandate for all individuals in public indoor spaces, regardless of a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status. The mandate went into effect on Friday, and applies to everyone over the age of 2.

The mandate follows a July 27 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people wear a mask in public indoor spaces in areas of “high and substantial transmission.”

As part of the new mandate, the county is allowing businesses that have implemented vaccine requirements to be exempted from the mask order if they have received approval from Boulder County Public Health. Once the county begins accepting applications for the “fully vaccinated facility program,” businesses that require employees and guests to show proof of vaccine will be granted exemptions from the mask mandate. This is a voluntary program and will open in mid-September, according to Boulder County’s website.


Businesses that have already issued vaccine mandates and already require visitors and employees to show proof of vaccination are able to apply for a temporary fully-vaccinated facility status, which will expire on Sept. 30. To receive this temporary status, businesses must require, and agree to continue to require, employees and visitors to show proof of vaccination, and the business must agree to allow inspections from Boulder County Public Health. 

This mandate is the first county-wide mask mandate since Gov. Jared Polis lifted Colorado’s statewide mask mandate in May. 

Boulder County allows some exceptions to the mask requirement, including if a person is actively eating or drinking, if a person is receiving medical, personal, or religious services, and if a person is engaged in a public safety role, such as law enforcement personnel. The only individuals who are fully exempt from the mask mandate are people under the age of two and people who cannot medically tolerate a face covering. 

The mask mandate does not apply to outdoor spaces.

Boulder County’s order follows the University of Colorado Boulder’s reinstatement of a temporary mask mandate in public indoor spaces, regardless of a person’s vaccination status, on Aug. 13. Along with the rest of the CU system, CU Boulder required its students, staff, and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester. 

The county’s new mask mandate does not change the current mask requirement on the CU Boulder campus, according to CU’s Twitter account

Almost 67% of Boulder county residents are fully vaccinated and almost 72% have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Sept. 4,  according to the CDC. About 68% of eligible Coloradans are fully vaccinated. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the vaccine for a single-dose.

Almost 95% of communities in the United States have high transmission, according to the CDC. Only two counties in Colorado are considered to have low transmission, according to the CDC: Cheyenne County and Mineral County.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.